Monday, June 21, 2021

Celebrating Another Year Around the Sun: Updates and Musings


The Birthday Girl
To say that I'm grateful would be an understatement. Ed and I managed to stay alive and healthy long enough to get both doses of our vaccinations. I am acutely aware that the pandemic is far from over and that we have no idea what to expect from the new variants. However, as I celebrated my 49th birthday last week, I felt incredibly blessed and overwhelmingly grateful to be living my best life in the place we've wanted to come back to the moment we left over 20 years ago: Salem, MA. 

Essex Walking Mall and Derby Square
Ed and I spent my birthday week on a "Staycation." I'm sure a lot of you are sick and tired of staying home, especially after a year of lock downs and closures. I'd probably feel the same way if we were still living in Staten Island, NYC. We hated our apartment. We hated our neighbors. We felt trapped in a two bedroom apartment surrounded by people who didn't -- and don't -- take COVID seriously. We felt like we were suffocating. 

But here in Salem, things are very different. We've been walking every night since the weather has gotten nice and we've met some wonderful people just by exploring our new home town. Our community has taken this pandemic seriously and, up until very recently when of governor dropped the mask mandate, everyone wore a mask and gave each other space. Even now some folks are wearing masks inside stores. It's made us feel safe.

Private Home in Salem, in Celebration of Pride. 
What? You didn't know we moved to Salem? Yup, after a particularly horrible weekend of dealing with inconsiderate Staten Island neighbors, Ed and I had a long talk ... we made plans. The original goal was to move to Salem in Spring 2021. That changed in October 2020 when we found the apartment we are currently renting. We packed up our Staten Island apartment, hired movers, and moved to Salem in December. It was the best thing we've done in a long, long time. 

The Eastern Glow from the Sunset: Derby Wharf
We had been talking about moving back to Salem for years. Most long time readers of this blog will recall the multiple trips we took every year. I've referred to Salem and Boston as my "second home towns" for over 20 years. The pandemic made us focus on what's important to us. It made us come to terms with where we were and where we wanted to be; with who we are ... and who we wanted to become. The move back "home" to Salem has given us the quality of life that we sorely missed in NYC or Texas. 

Sunset in Salem, the Day Before My Birthday
Our life here is simple. We both work at home, at least for the time being. Ed is still at his old job and I'm teaching online. After work we have a very early dinner and then we go for our walk down to Derby Wharf. We weave up and down the streets to look at the old houses. These June days we've been stopping to smell the roses, literally. Salem residents love roses! Sometimes we grab a coffee and sit on the Wharf. Sometimes we sit in the Common. And we talk. We talk about our plans and our dreams. We talk about history and magic. We talk about us. 

The Evening Sky After the Rain
We talk about the upcoming school year. I'm going to be a student again! I applied to Simmons University for a MS LIS in Cultural Heritage Informatics. Not only did I get accepted, they gave me a pretty good merit scholarship! They're going to transfer six credits from the Queens MLIS program. Most importantly, they waived the core classes. YAY! That means I get to start with the "meat" of the program! HURRAY! 

I started to look for GLAM (gallery, library, archives, and museum) positions in collections management,  curatorial research, and education; and I've started to look for local adjuncting opportunities. CUNY is moving to in person instruction starting this Fall, and that means my City Tech gig will probably end soon. It's ok. It's time to firmly plant my roots here.

First Time Eating at a Restaurant Since March 2020! (Yes, we were outside)
While this year has been challenging and awful, it brought unexpected revelations and opportunities. I'm not sure we would have moved back to Salem if it wasn't for the pandemic. I don't think I would have applied to Simmons. Teaching online during a pandemic took everything out of me. It also showed me that there are multiple ways to teach to multiple audiences. The pandemic and the Trump presidency demonstrated the importance of good, accessible public education and the necessity of information literacy education for everyone. As the GLAMs shut down in the pandemic, many figured out new and inventive ways to reach their public. I want to be part of this new digital era of GLAM collection access.

Happy Birthday!
This birthday was special in so many ways. I'm alive, healthy, and vaccinated. That's worth a celebration in of itself. I'm embracing this new Path and new me. I'm counting my blessings and creating a life that I want to live. Moving to Salem with my Ed is only the beginning of this awesome journey. Change is happening and it's good. 


  1. Happy Birthday! It sounds like the upcoming year will be a fabulous one for you and that's great! Enjoy your new home, new community and new opportunities!

  2. LIFE IS GOOD! <3 Happy birthday and happy midsummer!

    1. It really is! And thank you very much. Happy Midsummer to you, my friend!

  3. Thank you!

    Exactly! The pandemic pushed me to dive deep into myself, my beliefs, and my dreams. It's also pushed us to really, truly take care of our health -- partly because we're lucky enough to still have it and partly because if we do get COVID we want to be able to survive. I don't want to live somewhere I hate. I don't want to surround myself with people who are toxic and negative. I don't want a career that will suck the life out of me and give very little in return.

    Yes, I definitely feel the same way.

  4. A sense of joy + contentment stemming from your heart and soul alike radiants from this awesome post, my dear friend. May every positive you spoke of - and many more - continue to be yours as you embrace life in a city you cherish dearly (and which, I should add, I dream above all others in the US of visiting at least once in my life).

    Happiest birthday month wishes, sweet Franny. So very much love coming your way!

    Autumn Zenith 🧡 Witchcrafted Life

    1. Thank you, my dear friend! It's been a long and wild journey, that's for sure. A new journey is just beginning!!! WAHOO!

  5. I would love to visit Salem one day! I am so happy you have found your place and your path!